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Questioned as a murder suspect, solid (but drunk) citizen Al Willis attacks his police questioners, is beaten, and swears vengeance against them. Next night, Lieut. Parks is murdered; Willis is the only suspect in the eyes of tough Chief Conroy, who pursues him doggedly despite lack of evidence. The obsessed Conroy is dismissed from the force, but continues to harass Willis, who flees to a sleazy town on the Mexican border. Of course, Conroy follows. But which is crazy, Conroy or Willis? Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Naked Alibi is directed by Jerry Hopper and adapted to screenplay by Lawrence Roman from the story "Cry Copper" by Gladys Atwater and J. Robert Bren. It stars Sterling Hayden, Gloria Grahame, Gene Barry and Marcia Henderson. Music is by Joseph Gershenson and cinematography by Russell Metty.
Urgh! It's one of those lesser grade film noir movies from the classic cycle that should have been super, but isn't. It's also a Sterling Hayden film that gives his knockers ammunition to call him wooden, yet the tedious direction of Hooper and all round over staging of the production is what's at fault here.
Plot has Barry (over acting) as a suspected cop killer who walks free to apparently wreak more misery on the police force. Hayden's stoic and robust detective is not having a bit of it and becomes obsessed with bringing Barry's edgy character to justice. Grahame slinks into view in shapely fashion after half hour of film, to naturally stir the hornet's nest still further.
The potential is there for a hot-to-trot noir of psychological substance, a peek under the skin of men teetering on the thin line separating good and bad. Sadly it's all so laborious and fake, the male actors indulging in what I call auto-cue acting as they act out badly staged scenes. Grahame comes out of it relatively unscathed, while Metty gives the production an atmosphere it doesn't deserve with some slats and shads dalliances. But really it's average at best and the cast are wasted. 5/10
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